CENTRO Escolar University is heading to battle shorthanded when it takes on Go for Gold-CSB in Game Two of the 2019 PBA D-League quarterfinals.
And it's all because of allegations of game-fixing.
"Some players are currently being investigated by the school on allegations of game-fixing," said coach Derrick Pumaren, adding that close to 10 players are implicated in the issue.
That means the veteran mentor will only have at least six players available for the crucial 4 p.m. match that will have the winner progressing to the semifinals to face St. Clare College Virtual Reality.
It's a sad development for CEU, which finished second in the Foundation Group with a 7-2 card before dropping its last two assignments, the latest an 84-81 defeat to the Scratchers in the quarters last Tuesday.
As tough as the decision was, Pumaren said that rules are rules and the school adheres to the tenets of sportsmanship and will not tolerate such deeds.
"We won't turn a blind eye on this matter," he said.
Pumaren declined to bare names of the offenders, but absolved big man Maodo Malick Diouf from the controversy.
The Senegalese bruiser has been a force all season long and even poured in 14 points, 17 boards, six assists, four steals, and three blocks in that Game One defeat despite having to fast for Ramadan.
"You have to give it to the guy, that he's still playing hard in spite of that," said Pumaren.
Expulsion has been floated as one of the penalties for the players, if proven guilty, but more than anything, this matter cast a dark cloud over CEU and possibly, flushed all of the team's efforts for the past four months down the drain.